Customers who see flies in your foodservice or hospitality establishment may appear to simply swat them away, but they are likely complaining to their companions (then posting on social media) and questioning your overall sanitation. Because establishments with sanitation issues are four times more likely to have flies, and flies are vectors for foodborne illness, their distrust is not unwarranted.
Flies can carry more than 200 pathogens including Salmonella and E. coli, which they can transmit to food. The common house fly, in particular, is especially notorious for this, as it “tastes” every surface on which it lands. Because it can only consume liquidized food, the fly first regurgitates onto its food source to liquidize it, and then ingests the liquid. Not only does it deposit these specks of mouth secretions (as well as feces) on surfaces, it can carry bacteria on its body and legs from surface to surface – e.g., from garbage on which it was feeding to the food you are producing.
One fly may not seem to be a major problem, but the ability of a single adult female housefly to lay 75-150 eggs at a time – which can grow from egg to adult in just under a week in optimal conditions – means that infestations can quickly arise.
Solutions. There are steps you can take to help keep flies out and prevent them from becoming a problem. The most effective is developed through a partnership between your facility staff and pest management provider, taking an outside-in approach:
Reducing fly activity to mitigate food safety risk requires an integrated approach, starting from the outside with exterior treatments and equipment, followed by exclusion to reduce fly entry, interior treatments and fly traps to kill flies once they gain entry, and ongoing maintenance of the program by both the pest management provider and facility staff.